Study Abroad

The Basics of Study Abroad

All credits earned through Penn State-sponsored study abroad programs are accepted by Penn State.  How those credits apply toward the degree is determined by the Department of Art History.

Students remain registered at Penn State while studying abroad through Penn State-sponsored programs.  This is especially relevant for students who have financial aid through Penn State.

Programs of Note

Temple Rome, Rome, Italy                                                            Minimum GPA 2.75

Established by Temple’s Tyler School of Art in the 1960s, Temple Rome offers a variety of art history courses from ancient to contemporary, most of which use the city as a classroom.  For juniors and seniors.  No prior Italian language is required.

Courses of note:

Museum History and Theory in Rome.  With weekly visits to ancient Roman ruins, monuments, churches, palaces, villas, and museums, this course addresses Rome’s role in the birth of the modern museum.

Galleries and Studios of Rome. This course includes weekly visits to galleries, museum exhibitions, and artists’ studios in and around Rome.

SACI, Florence, Italy                                                                       Minimum GPA 2.75

Studio Arts Centers International is an art school for Americans housed in a 17th century palazzo in the heart of Florence.  It offers a selection of art history courses concentrating on periods from the Renaissance to contemporary.  No prior Italian language is required.

Courses of note:

Italian Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Art.  This course has as a co-requisite Early Renaissance On Site which includes day trips to Ravenna, Pisa, Luccca, Siena and San Gimignano and a weekend trip to Arezzo, San Sepolcro, Monterchi, Assisi, and Urbino.

Italian High Renaissance, Mannerist, and Early Baroque Art.  This course has as a co-requisite High Renaissance On Site which includes a weekend field trip to Rome and Tivoli and Saturday field trips to the Vinci and Medici villas near Florence, the Certosa di Galluzzo, and Bologna.

Art Conservation.  SACI offers a sequence of courses in painting conservation, conservation law, diagnostic techniques, and conservation of archaeological objects.

ISI, Florence, Italy                                                  Minimum GPA 2.75

Housed in Palazzo Rucellai: a textbook-example renaissance palazzo, the ISI program offers an interesting selection of Florentine art history courses including upper-level special topics courses such as Michelangelo; Vasari and the Florentine Masters; and The Villa and the Garden.  No prior Italian language is required.

Course of note:

Renaissance Painting: The Art of Buon Fresco.  This is a studio art course that might interest art history majors.  Students develop a sketch, spread plaster on a concrete wall and apply paint to the wet plaster in the true fresco technique. 

IAU College, Aix-en-Provence, France            Minimum GPA 2.75

Located in Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne’s hometown, IAU College offers a selection of art history courses most notably “Cézanne and Van Gogh in the South of France,” a course which includes fieldtrips to Cézanne’s studio, Mont-Sainte-Victoire, Chateau Noir, Bidémus Quarry, and Arles, where Van Gogh lived.  Other art history courses include “Impressionism” and “Modern Art, Provence and the Mediterranean.”  IAU College also offers a full complement of French language and literature course as well as a cross section of humanities and social science courses.  No prior knowledge of French required. 

Strength:  The program combines the cultural immersion of living with a local family, the experiential learning of field trips to sites directly relevant to artists’ work, and living in one of the most beautiful regions of the world.

University of Leeds, England                                                        Minimum GPA 3.0

The University of Leeds offers a long list of art history and cultural studies courses taught by some very prestigious faculty.  For example, Griselda Pollock teaches a course titled Femininity/Modernity/Representation: Rethinking the Twentieth Century with Women in Mind

IES Berlin, Metropolitan Studies Program                                Minimum GPA 3.0

Through comparative and interdisciplinary courses, participants in the IES Berlin, Metropolitan Studies Program examine issues relevant to major cities today.  Students select from a list of courses in art history, cultural studies, economics, film studies, gender studies, history, literature, political science, sociology and urban studies.  Berlin is used as a case study but comparisons are made to other cities throughout Europe and the United States.  The program includes field trips around Berlin as well as to Paris, France and St. Petersburg, Russia.  No prior German language is required.

American University, Cairo, Egypt                                              Minimum GPA 2.5

The language of instruction at the American University of Cairo is English but taking Arabic while there is highly recommended.   The university offers a variety of courses related to art history such as The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt which includes field trips to the Egyptian Museum, Giza and Saqqara.

Summer Faculty-Led Programs

Todi, Italy

The Todi program is a seven-week, six (or seven) credit program offering art history and Italian language.  All students must take both courses but each course is designed for flexibility.  For example, the art history course can be taken at the 200 or 400 level.   The program is based in the small city of Todi and includes numerous field trips.

Strength: It combines an immersion in Italian culture (housing is with local families) and an excellent introduction to the major cities, museums, and monuments of Italy.


Other Options for Art History

Amsterdam, Neth.               University of Amsterdam through IES

Barcelona, Spain                 IES Center

Dublin, Ireland                       Summer Internship Program through IES

Granada, Spain                     IES Center and the University of Granada*

London, U.K.                        Summer Internship Program through Arcadia and IES

Madrid, Spain                       IES Center

Marburg, Germany               Philipps Universitat

Melbourne, Australia           University of Melbourne

Milan, Italy                            IES Center

Paris, France                       The Sorbonne through IES*

Perugia, Italy                        Umbra Institute through Arcadia

Rome, Italy                           IES Center

Sydney, Australia                University of New South Wales

Vienna, Austria                    IES Center

Wellington, New Zealand  Victoria University of Wellington.

* Command of local language required.

How to Apply:

Applications for all Penn State-sponsored study abroad programs are submitted electronically through the Education Abroad web site:

Application Deadlines:

For Fall Semester: January 20

For Spring Semester: May 1

For More Information:

Jonathan Colon
Academic Advisor         
College of Arts and Architecture
104 Borland Building